4 Simple Ways to Get Back a Lost Gadget

Last Updated Jul 20, 2010 11:28 PM EDT

Gadgets like flash memory drives, cameras, and phones are getting so small that it's almost inevitable that you'll someday lose one of them. Even if you don't necessarily need the device itself back -- flash memory drives are so cheap they're virtually disposable, for example -- but you might feel differently about whatever data is inside. Here are 4 simple ways to communicate with whoever finds your stuff.


Last week, Lifehacker discussed some ways to help encourage the speedy return of your personal gadgets. Here are my favorites:

Name the device with your phone number. If your flash drive is named with your phone number, for example, it'll be the first thing anyone sees when they plug it into their PC. If they are honest and want to return it, you're golden.

Display an automatic message. To do that, you can add an autorun.inf file to your drive so it displays a message when plugged in. It's just a text file that looks like this:

[Autorun]

Label=Reward: (xxx) xxx-xxxx

Include a photo. People are nosy, and will probably check out photos on your device. Be sure one of them is a snapshot of our phone number and e-mail address. If you store this on a digital camera, don't forget that you can lock the photo so it won't be accidentally deleted when you erase images from the card.

Use a sticker. Are those options too high tech? Just slap a sticker on the side of your gadget with your contact information.

And it doesn't hurt to prepare for the worst. If you lose your gadget, there are ways to track it and get it back. Be sure to check out some of our other lost-phone-or-other-gadget advice:

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